There is no better fashion image of a 20th century woman’s tuxedo than that shot by Helmut Newton for Yves Saint Laurent, at night in a Paris back street – and there’s probably never been a better pant suit either.
The combination of high-waisted trousers, the precise way the flare covers the shoe, the skinny sleeves and the cut of the shoulders presents a perfect chic vision of androgyny. Now tuxedo style is making a comeback fuelled by the abundance of well-cut shirts. Stripped of embellishment this season has veered away from the blouse towards narrow shouldered, well-structured mannish shirts in silk, cotton and the finest linen. In essence they celebrate androgyny but the lush materials add a touch of femininity.
Richard Nicoll and Celine offer silk and cotton two-tone suit shirts with a Mandarin collar, while Prada embellishes a simple white pressed cotton shirt with a touch of tropical paradise on the collar and button row. Karen Walker presents a buttoned-up tangerine cotton shirt in her autumn/winter 2011 mainline and Australian purveyors of fine tailoring Mr. Rose go back to basics with a classic cut tuxedo shirt.